MetroPCS Comm to Deploy Firethorn M-Banking

Qualcomm’s Firethorn Holdings has entered into an agreement with
Dallas-based MetroPCS Communications through Firethorn’s “Mobile
Banking” application.
Consumers will be able to view their bank and credit card balances and
history, make transfers between their accounts, and pay their bills
securely from their mobile phones using a single PIN. They can also
check rewards information and review targeted, timely offers from their
financial institutions as part of the application’s evolving mobile
commerce capabilities. MetroPCS Communications is a provider of unlimited
wireless communications service for a flat-rate with no signed contract.
Currently and has access to licenses covering a population of
approximately 145 million people in the largest metropolitan areas in
the United States. As of June 30, 2009, MetroPCS had
approximately 6.3 million subscribers.

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1WORLD CARD

One World Ventures prepaid cards and Sponsor Bank have agreed to issue
the prepaid “1World Card” in the United States, for which the
partnership has applied for BIN and is awaiting regulatory approval. In
the interim, One World Ventures will work on terms and conditions for
using an outside processor and submission to Visa for marketing and logo
approval. This will provide consumers without bank accounts a
re-loadable debit card allowing them to avoid high costs of check
cashing and money order fees. The card will interface with our
international partners providing low cost remittance for our customers.
One World Ventures holding company with management resourced in Asia and
the United States that invests in technologies, communities and systems
facilitating trade, finance, communication and travel.

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Brand Neue Lands an Former AmEx Executive

Product innovator Brand Neue has appointed John Rodenburg, previously with Time, to its Board of Advisors.
Rodenburg is a senior media executive with broad
experience in magazine, digital, and experiential marketing of
businesses. He worked as a senior executive with Time
Inc. From 2005 through 2009, with American Express Publishing as Vice
President, Publisher of Travel & Leisure Golf, with P&L responsibility
for $12 million in advertising sales and marketing revenue. Rodenburg
managed an extensive sales and marketing division and built an extensive,
multi-media, multi-dimensional marketing, membership rewards and brand
development program. From 2002 through 2005, Rodenburg worked with Sports Illustrated and SI.com
as Associate Publisher, Director of Sales & Sales Development. At SI,
John had P&L responsibility for $252 million in advertising sales and
managed a large sales and sales development department, and created
multi-media platform solutions including In-book, SI.com, Events and
Cable TV. He delivered targeted advertising solutions that leveraged
advertising sponsorships including Olympics, NBA, MLB, NCAA, NFL and
others. From 2000 through 2002, Rodenburg was Associate Publisher, Director
of Marketing for SI and SI.com, and from 1995 through 2000, he was the
Northwest Advertising Director, with P&L responsibility for $20 million
in advertising and marketing revenue.

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CITI MOBILE EN ESPANOL

Citibank has launched its “Citi Mobile en Espanol,” targeting
Spanish-speaking m-banking customers. The service lets customers manage
their accounts, pay bills and locate Citibank branches from their cell
phones. This is in response to research showing hispanics are among the
most active mobile Web users in the United States and nearly 50% of
English-speaking Hispanic consumers reported accessing the Internet via
a handheld device in 2009, of which 29% reported going online “on a
typical day” through a mobile device. This mirrors the functionality of
the English-language Citi Mobile for Smartphones, using the same URL
from any mobile device, including BlackBerry smartphones, Palm devices
and iPhones, to pay bills and set up recurring payments, make transfers
between Citi accounts and to locate Citi branches and ATMs.

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PayPal Hooks-Up with Green Dot’s MoneyPak

Alternative payment provider PayPal can now be loaded onto Green Dot’s MoneyPak.
MoneyPak can be purchased with cash at a retail store, then the money
can be loaded directly into a PayPal account and used to shop online
anywhere PayPal is accepted, including eBay. MoneyPak is available at
more than 40,000 stores nationwide, such as Walmart, CVS/pharmacy,
Kmart, Rite Aid and Walgreens. In addition to funding a PayPal account, MoneyPak enables people to
reload prepaid cards, make cash payments, pay bills and fund other
accounts. MoneyPak is powered by Green Dot’s industry-leading cash
acceptance network, and costs $4.95 or less. Green Dot is the leading provider of prepaid financial services in the
United States, and owns and operates the Green Dot Network, which is the
largest cash loading and reloading network in the United States.

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Thanks to Sears/Kmart eLayaway is on Fire

Fl-based online payment solution firm eLayaway has signed on Sears and
Kmart.
eLayaway offers its registered merchants with an opportunity to affordably
provide layaway to their customers as a means of expanding market share
while reducing the administrative requirements of traditional layaway.
Consumers appreciate those merchants that offer payment alternatives
designed to help them better plan and afford their purchases. Customers
are charged a small, flat
transaction fee as low as 1.9% and receives their merchandise
once all payments are made in full.

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AmEx OPEN Facilitates CCR for Female Biz Owners

The nation’s largest bipartisan women’s business
group Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP)and American Express OPEN have helped more than 20,000
women business owners to do business with the federal government by registering
their businesses on the Central Contractor Registration (CCR).
As part of the “Give Me 5 program”, American Express OPEN and WIPP
launched www.giveme5.com, a portal for business owners who are getting
started in federal contracting. The site features a rigorous online
training program including podcasts and webinars, a downloadable version
of OPEN BOOK: Government Contracting, a co-authored step-by-step guide
about contracts, links to OPEN Insights, a series of in-depth guides and
worksheets and many other resources to help small business owners get
their business “contract-ready” to do business with the federal government.
“Give Me 5” derives its name from The Equity in Contracting for Women Act
(2000), which stipulates that federal contracting officers award 5% of
all contracts to women-owned businesses. With women presently receiving
3.4% of federal contract dollars in 20081, Give Me 5 aims to increase
the representation of women-owned businesses that win government
contracts and stimulus funds.

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Bernankes’ Assertions Drive Consumer Confidence

A monthly consumer tracking poll reveals consumer confidence gained ground in October for the fourth time in the wake of the Federal Reserve’s Chairman assertion three weeks ago that the recession is over. But, the high unemployment numbers and weak consumer spending do not a recovery make. The “RBC CASH” (Consumer Attitudes and Spending by Household) Index for October stands at 51.8, an 11.8 point increase from September’s reading. The RBC “Investment Index” increased sharply this month, climbing 21.1 points to 58.0, the highest mark for the index this year. The RBC “Current Conditions Index” also reached a twelve-month high in October as it climbed to 50.3, up 17.1 points from the September reading of 33.2. The RBC “Jobs Index” rose by 5.8 points in October to 59.3, well below the 78.8 level observed at this time one year ago. The RBC “Expectations Index” jumped to 54.2, up 12.7 points from September’s level of 41.5.

RBC CASH INDEX
Oct 08: 37.0
Nov 08: 34.7
Dec 08: 15.3
Jan 09: 13.3
Feb 09: 1.6
Mar 09: 8.2
Apr 09: 38.3
May 09: 43.0
Jun 09: 34.3
Jul 09: 22.4
Aug 09: 37.5
Sep 09: 40.0
Oct 09: 51.8
Source: RBC CASH

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TurboTax for Online Banking Gets Powered

Intuit has rolled out “TurboTax for Online Banking”. TurboTax for Online Banking guides users through their return, helping
them get every deduction and credit to which they are entitled so they
get the maximum refund possible. Users can also file their returns
electronically and direct deposit refunds in up to three accounts.
More than $33 billion in tax refunds already flow through TurboTax. More
than 90 percent of people who tried “TurboTax for Online Banking” during
pilot testing who received a tax refund direct deposited that refund
with the financial institution that offered the service.
Consumers whose financial institutions offer TurboTax for Online Banking
can pre-populate their tax forms with tax data from online banking to
save time. This will help people quickly and easily prepare, plan and
file tax returns within an online banking session; no additional log in
required. The solution can also be integrated with FinanceWorks, the
award-winning online financial management solution from Intuit’s
financial institutions division, Digital Insight, to make tax
preparation even easier for tax filers. FinanceWorks helps online banking customers gain greater visibility and
control over their spending with access to account information from more
than 12,000 financial institutions and credit card sites.

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ABA Pleads for Limited CARD Act Acceleration

The American Bankers Association says the shortening of the original 18-month implementation period for the “CARD Act” from that which was originally contemplated by regulators is already creating enormous operational challenges for institutions. The ABA says that credit cards constitute the riskiest form of consumer lending because there is no security backing up the loan, there are no limits on use and funds can be accessed 24/7 around the world. Federal regulators are still writing rules for the new regulations and that in some instances proposed rules still do not yet exist. Moving the compliance date up to December 1, 2009 could, in some cases, prove practically impossible for some issuers since they’re being asked to design complex systems without knowing the rules of the road.

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PayPal and First Data Link Up STAR Access

PayPal and First Data payment processing have signed agreements allowing
debit cardholders in the First Data STAR Network to link their STAR
debit card to a PayPal account online. The STAR Network electronic funds
transfer network is offering the innovative service to its member
financial institutions, allowing their customers to enroll for a PayPal
account through banking websites and immediately use their debit card
for PayPal online purchases. Member financial institutions provide
authentication for the cardholder, who doesn’t have to enter debit card
account information or expose their debit card number to merchants with
each purchase. PayPal provides a faster and safer way to pay and get
paid online, with more than 75 million active accounts in 190 markets
and 19 currencies around the world.

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VeriShield Protect is Very Ready for Visa Specs

VeriFone Holdings “VeriShield Protect” card payment data protection
solution is in compliance with Visa’s best practices for data field
encryption. VeriShield Protect utilizes a unique format preserving
encryption that
achieves the goals of Visa’s best practices and requires no changes to
most POS software and retail systems, or store procedures.
The VeriShield Protect solution is installed into the security module of
VeriFone card-acceptance devices to encrypt cardholder data as soon as
the card is presented; encrypted data is transmitted to a Decryption
Appliance installed at a secure data center to ensure no unencrypted
data can be intercepted.

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